Overland Park mom faces possible $500 daily fine for letting kid’s friends live with them

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- How many people are living in your home? If the answer is more than four and they aren’t all blood-related, you could have to start kicking people out or face fines of up to $500 a day.

For a South Overland Park mother of three college-aged children, it started with a neighbor complaining about the number of cars in her driveway and on the street around her home.

After Ginger Kreutzer's youngest graduated high school this summer, she let two of his friends stay with them off and on as they had issues at home.

“I just give them keys and just tell them, 'Hey, you always have an open door here.' I don’t want anyone out on the street or worrying about where they are staying or eating or any things like that," Kreutzer said.

But she learned that although Overland Park has no rules about how many family members can live in a home, if anybody isn’t a blood relative, only four people can live there.

Ginger Kreutzer

A letter from the city says she has until Oct. 5 to comply or she'll have to go to court and face possible fines of up to $500 a day for non-compliance.

“That’s crazy. I would basically have to kick these people out and come down to four or lose my place to live, which to me seems excessive just for giving somebody a place to stay so they can go to college," Kreutzer said.

An Overland Park spokesperson said the code is designed to keep people from turning their homes into apartments. He added the city has granted Kreutzer 30 days instead of the usual 15 to comply.

On Tuesday, her oldest child, a 23-year-old who had moved back home while she underwent cancer treatment, moved out. Kreutzer thinks as a result, she’ll be able to comply by the deadline. But she worries the code could deter others from helping those in need.

Section 18.110.240 of Overland Park's Municipal code defines family as any of the following:

  1. "A group of not more than four (4) related or unrelated persons of any age living together by joint agreement and occupying a single housekeeping unit with common kitchen facilities, or a mixed group of related and non-related persons of any age who together constitute no more than a cumulative total of four (4) persons living together by joint agreement and occupying a single housekeeping unit with common kitchen facilities.
  2. "A group of any size and age consisting entirely of an immediate family. For the purpose of this section an “immediate family” shall be a group consisting of only a spouse, parent, child, grandchild, grandparent, brother or sister, all related by marriage or consanguinity, and all of who can provide documentation of such relationship within a reasonable time upon request by the appropriate enforcement officers of the City. Ten (10) calendar days shall constitute a reasonable period of time unless the occupants can establish the necessity of an extension of time to obtain such documentation from the authorized sources, and any request for an extension of time to the City must be submitted in writing prior to the expiration of the ten day response time, and must be accompanied by names, dates and location of the births or marriages sought to be documented.
  3. "A group of not more than seven (7) persons who are 18 years of age or older who are related by marriage or consanguinity, all living together and occupying a single housekeeping unit with common kitchen facilities, and all of who can provide documentation of such relationship within a reasonable time upon request by the appropriate enforcement officers of the City, as provided in subsection (2) above."